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PR NASA EPSCoR Research Awards PDF Print

NASA EPSCoR research awards support research activities that make significant contributions to the strategic research and technology development priorities of one or more of the Mission Directorates or the Office of the Chief Technologist, and contribute to the overall research infrastructure, science and technology capabilities, higher education, and economic development of the Jurisdiction. The projects are expected move increasingly towards gaining support from sources outside NASA EPSCoR by aggressively pursuing additional funding opportunities offered by NASA, industry, other federal agencies, and elsewhere. The maximum funding that can be requested from NASA is $750,000 per proposal to be expended over three years. Cost-sharing is required at a level of at least 50% of the requested NASA funds.

 

 
Carbon Dioxide Storage and Sustained Delivery by Porous Pillar-Layered Structure Coordination Polymers and Metal Organic Frameworks PDF Print E-mail

Project Title: Carbon Dioxide Storage and Sustained Delivery by Porous Pillar-Layered  Structure Coordination Polymers and Metal Organic Frameworks
Science PI:
Dr. Arturo Hernández-Maldonado, UPR Mayagüez
Period:
December 2012 – December 2015

This research project will develop nanoporous materials capable of providing low volume/pressure CO2 storage with on-demand delivery and minimal energy input. Hence, this proposal aims at enhancing NASA’s capabilities for long-term exploration missions, specifically those related to human life support and in situ resource utilization. The specific objectives include the synthesis and characterization of porous coordination pillared-layer polymers (PCPs) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) using redox- and photo-active structural building units (SBU) and surface functional groups for optimized CO2 storage and delivery (TRL1). This is a novel approach to enhance CO2 storage in a minimally powered, on-demand delivery fashion. We will study and optimize CO2 equilibrium and dynamic uptake for these materials at conditions that will address NASA’s needs for possible implementation. Furthermore, we will scale-up the synthetic protocols and develop testbeds at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) facilities (TRL2 and 3). Selected adsorbents will be also subject to broader and integrated testing at ARC and/or MSFC, thereby leveraging on-going NASA Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) funded activities. We envision that the scope of this project will be eventually expanded to include terrestrial applications. Efficient CO2 storage methods will be of utmost necessity for climate change mitigation, mine safety, atmospheric control in enclosed spaces, military applications, and synthetic fuel and high value chemicals production. Finally, the graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows that will be involved in this project will receive training in a cutting-edge technology development and will acquire skills transferable to industrial and academic settings. Therefore, this project will contribute to the efforts of the Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) with research in the area of nanotechnology aimed at the development of nanoporous materials for environmental remediation that will also be useful for the NASA Space Exploration Program.

 
Nanostructured III-N Solar Cells for Space Applications PDF Print E-mail

Project Title: Nanostructured III-N Solar Cells for Space Applications
Science
PI: Dr. Maharaj Tomar, UPR Mayagüez
Period:
October 2010 – September 2014

This research project will enhance our understanding of the fundamental material processes and charge transport of III-N based semiconductors and nanostructures for high efficiency solar cells.
III-N semiconductors inherently have great radiation hardness and high breakdown fields.  They provide opportunity for band gap engineering ranging from 0.7 eV (InN) to 3.8 eV (GaN), and InxGa1-xN solid solution that can cover the entire visible and near infrared solar spectrum. Therefore, GaN/InxGa1-xN based single and double junction solar cells with higher radiation hardness can be fabricated. Theoretical predictions state that over 60% electrical conversion efficiencies may be achieved by photon induced transitions in intermediate bands. The theoretical criteria suggest that intermediate bands could be achieved by introducing suitable nanoparticles into the InxGa1-xN host.  MOCVD and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) will be used for material growth. We will study the (a) kinetics and growth of InxGa1-xN b) growth of nanostructures and quantum dots to create intermediate bands for multiple-excitation-generation, c) effective p- and n-doping in the InxGa1-xN system, and d) 2-D electron gas in GaN/ InxGa1-xN heterojunctions and their interfacial chemistry. This project is a collaborative between UPR Mayagüez, UPR Río Piedras and NASA Glenn Research Center. Moreover, it will contribute to the efforts of the Institute for Functional Nanomaterials (IFN) with research in the area of nanotechnology aimed at developing alternative sources of renewable energy to Puerto Rico that also are useful for the NASA Space Exploration Program.

 
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